Adani has given the green light for work to start on the $21 billion Carmichael coal mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin but critics are already slamming the decision as a “stunt”.

After almost seven years of legal battles and delays, Adani’s chairman announced in a statement Tuesday he had signed off on the project.

“I am proud to announce the project has Final Investment Decision (FID) approval which marks the official start of one of the largest single infrastructure — and job-creating — developments in Australia’s recent history,” Gautam Adani said.

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Pre-construction work on the project is expected to begin in the September quarter.

However, the Federal Government will still need to pass changes to the Native Title Act, and to make a decision on whether to provide a $1 billion concessional loan to the project.

It’s also unclear whether Adani has secured finance to build the mine.

Queensland Greens Senator Larissa Waters said the announcement was a “PR stunt to squeeze a $1 billion handout from Australian taxpayers”.

Adani is still waiting for a decision from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility on whether it will be granted a $1 billion concessional loan funded by taxpayers. The loan would help pay for a new 189 kilometre rail line to link the mine to the coal terminal at Abbot Point.

“This so-called final investment decision is meaningless, Adani is still broke, and 19 banks have refused to fund their deadly mega-coal mine,” Ms Waters said.

“Today’s announcement does not mean the mine will go ahead, it’s a grab for a $1 billion handout of public funds from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility.

“This is desperate PR stunt from a desperate company trying to squeeze even more freebies from their mates in Labor and the Liberal Nationals.”

The fight over the Adani mine has been described as “the environmental issue of our time” by former Greens leader Bob Brown, amid concerns the mine will contribute to climate change and hurt the Great Barrier Reef.

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